What is Globus Hystericus?
Globus hystericus, also known as globus pharyngeus, is the feeling of having a lump in the throat. It feels like there is something stuck in your throat, such as a pill or a ball of phlegm. The feeling can be very unpleasant. Some people have difficulty swallowing or eating when suffering from this condition, and may even feel like they are choking.
Causes of Globus Hystericus
The most common cause of globus hystericus is anxiety. Physically, the feeling of a lump is caused by a muscle spasm in the esophagus. The esophagus has muscles that contract when we swallow. High levels of stress or anxiety can cause these muscles to tighten, spasm or remain contracted, resulting in a feeling of a lump in the throat. This feeling can last for weeks, months or even longer.
The symptoms can also be caused or worsened by gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. If stomach acid rises up and gets into the throat, it can be very irritating to the tissues in the esophagus.
Smoking and post-nasal drip are also factors that can worsen the symptoms of globus hystericus.
Globus Hystericus Treatment
If you feel like you have a lump in your throat, you should get it checked by a medical professional to rule out any physical condition such as a tumor.
If acid reflux (GERD) is causing or worsening the globus hystericus, treatment includes modifying your diet or taking medication to eliminate excess stomach acid.
If no physical cause is found, then treatment will probably focus on relieving your anxiety, whether by taking anti-anxiety medication or making lifestyle changes for stress reduction.
This video demonstrates some exercises you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of a lump in the throat.
My Personal Experience with Globus Hystericus
Several years ago, I was going through an extremely stressful time in my life, and I began feeling like there was a lump in my throat every time I swallowed. At first I was worried because I thought I might have a thyroid tumor. Then I noticed that when I first woke up in the morning, the “lump” wasn’t there. After I got up and went to work, it came back, so I realized it couldn’t be a tumor or else I would be feeling it all the time.
I did some research and learned about the condition of globus hystericus, and understood that it was caused by my high level of anxiety. It lasted for about three months. I didn’t go to the doctor or do anything specific to treat it, but after the stressful circumstances changed, the feeling of a lump in my throat went away.